My guest today is Lynn Petrovich, a CPA and long-time advocate for universal health care. Welcome to OpEdNews, Lynn. You recently wrote an op ed piece about your own adventures in the health care system, "Hospital Accounting: It's Complicated." Up until a family member's unscheduled visit to a local emergency room, you had assiduously avoided the health care system, although you do have health insurance. Why is that?
Joan, the for-profit health insurance industry has set up so many road blocks to payment for health services that it makes even those who have health insurance skittish about using the system.
About two decades ago, one Saturday afternoon,I came home from shopping and, noticing my husband's car not in the driveway,walked through our front door to see a blood trail leading from the back room to the kitchen to the refrigerator to the freezer to the bathroom to the phone to the back door,down the steps and ending where his car would have been parked. It was apparent something terrible had happened. I was in a panic.
He had been working around the house and severely cut his hand using a hatchet. Despite the loss of blood and in severe pain, he was able to wrap his hand in ice and towels and drive himself to the emergency room...about a 10-minute ride.
The wound was deep enough to require extensive stitching from a surgeon, bandaging,and subsequent rehabilitation. He was lucky.
When the claim was processed by our insurance company, it was denied for the following reason:His injury was not considered an emergency.
The health insurance industry has finely tuned health "providing"into a set of definitions and procedures that are absolutely cumbersome, contradictory, and outright ridiculous. I've talked to many people who just give up and end up paying the bill out of pocket.